‘Downton Abbey’ renewed for fifth series

The fourth series of the popular period drama came to a close last night (November 10)

Downton Abbey has been officially renewed for a fifth series.

The period drama finished up its fourth season last night (November 10) on ITV, and now Carnival Films have stated that the show will return in 2014 with Julian Fellowes remaining in place as head writer. In a statement, executive producer Gareth Neame commented: “Audiences have enjoyed their regular Sunday evening visits back to Downton once again this autumn and we are thrilled to produce a new series of the show next year. We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy played out by some of the most iconic characters on television. All the actors and makers of the show continue to be humbled by the extraordinary audience response and want to take the show from strength to strength next year.”

Before then, a two hour long Christmas special will be broadcast, featuring guest spots from US actors Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti, reports Digital Spy.

The show returned in September of this year with its best ever ratings for a series-opening episode. An average of 9.5 million viewers tuned in to ITV for the season opener. The first ever episode of Downton Abbey attracted 8 million viewers in 2010 and the show returned with 9.2 million viewers in 2011 and 9 million viewers last year.